France ‘could stop beach launchings’ says Craig Mackinlay
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Around 40,000 migrants have crossed the Channel so far this year, with the Home Secretary criticised for warning of an “invasion” on the south coast. Provisional Government figures to date show 39,913 people have arrived in the UK after making the journey. Speaking to LBC, Mr Mackinlay said: “It almost doesn’t matter what we do if the French aren’t prepared to play ball.
“The French could stop the beach launchings in two weeks if they had a mind to.
“At least 90 percent of the beach launchings are happening plus or minus five miles from Calais.
“We’ve offered them help, but they have refused that help. We’ve offered them advanced drones, staff, military personnel, border force, and police and it’s been rebuffed.
“I cannot believe that it can’t be solved.
“My real worry here is that sometime over this winter as happened in last November, we will deaths in the Channel.
“It’s almost guaranteed this will happen. We’ve warned this will happen, we’ve begged the French to work with us but my fear is it will happen.”
It comes as four senior MPs have piled further pressure on the Home Secretary to explain how the Government will get to grips with the migrant crisis.
The parliamentary committee chairs have jointly written to Suella Braverman calling for clarity on how the Home Office will cut the number of treacherous small boat crossings and reduce “as a matter of urgency” the backlog in cases currently within the asylum system.
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They also express their “deep concerns” over the “dire” conditions at the Manston asylum processing centre in Kent, asking what will be done to address the current situation and avoid overcrowding in future.
The letter states that reports in recent days suggest conditions have “substantially deteriorated” at Manston, and that “unacceptably long stays have increased, including for families and unaccompanied children”.
On Wednesday afternoon, a young girl threw a bottle containing a letter over the perimeter fence to a PA news agency photographer, claiming there were pregnant women and sick detainees at the facility.
The note, written in broken English and addressed to “journalists, organisations, everyone” appeared to suggest 50 families had been held there for more than 30 days.
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In their letter to Ms Braverman, the committee chiefs call for clarity on what policies the Home Office has in place to address the conditions at the centre and ensure it does not face such overcrowding again.
They also say they are keen to understand how the department will cut the number of small boat arrivals, and reduce “as a matter of urgency” the backlog in cases currently within the asylum system.
The letter is signed by the chairs of the Home Affairs Committee, Justice Committee, Joint Committee on Human Rights and Women and Equalities Committee, and requests a response by November 16.
It follows a warning from council chiefs that Kent is at “breaking point” as a result of the migrant crisis, with the potential for disorder at Manston and the risk of far-right violence.
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